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Octavia Spencer

Film Review: Ethereal ‘The Shape of Water’ Forms Cinema Magic

CHICAGO – This breathtaking morality and love story, set in a backward age, takes all of its major themes – passion, tolerance, symbolism and thrills – to the highest level. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro has created a masterwork that is part fairy tale, part adult desperation and all cinema magic.

Slideshow, Audio: Closing Night ‘The Shape of Water’ at 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

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Michael Shannon is Agent Strickland in ‘The Shape of Water.’

CHICAGO – Put the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival in the books, as the spectacular Closing Night film was “The Shape of Water,” directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and featured Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg, who both walked the Red Carpet on October 26th, 2017, and was joined by producer Daniel Kraus.

Film News: Closing-Night Film ‘The Shape of Water’ at 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

Shape of Water, The

CHICAGO – Two weeks of tributes, perspectives and events have flown by, including the amazing line-up of over 150 films from 50 countries. The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival concludes Thursday, October 26th, 2017, with “The Shape of Water” (United States), directed by Guillermo Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”).

Film Review: ‘The Shack’ is About Spirituality, Not Filmmaking

CHICAGO – To create spirituality from tragedy is like shooting the proverbial fish – a prominent symbol for Christianity – in a barrel. “The Shack” is based on a popular novel, and doesn’t try to do anything different or cinematic with a man encountering the Holy Trinity after a horrific incident.

Film Review: Brainiac Fulfillment is the Key to ‘Hidden Figures’

CHICAGO – In America, there is the history we have, and the history that we want to have happened. “Hidden Figures” falls into the second category, but it’s presented in such a way that it fulfills the goal – tell an amazing story about a group of African American women who helped launch men into space.

Exclusive Red-Carpet Portraits: Taraji P. Henson at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – Popular actress Taraji P. Henson (“Hustle & Flow,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) was showcased at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival on October 23rd, 2016, as she walked the Red Carpet and presented highlights from her upcoming film, “Hidden Figures.”

Film Review: ‘Zootopia’ is an Odd But Endearing Disney Animated Film

CHICAGO – Walt Disney Studio’s latest animated extravaganza is best viewed as a child’s introduction to the buddy cop movie, since you can’t exactly start a toddler on “Midnight Run” or “Lethal Weapon 2.” But in this case it’s a bunny cop movie.

Film Review: Shortage of Spark Makes ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ a Second-String Effort

CHICAGO – “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” does nothing to change the “Divergent” series status as an off-brand Young Adult epic. As we’ve seen with “The Hunger Games,” these Young Adult franchises can be lots of fun and be faithful to their source material. But “Insurgent” has the same problem as the first two “Harry Potter” films – it’s too faithful, coupled with a dearth of inspiration behind the camera.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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